tv wusa 9 News at 7pm CBS March 10, 2014 7:00pm-7:31pm EDT
election after election, year after year, in the district. >> that man, campaign financejeff thompson, also known as uncle earl. >> those are lies. uncle earl part is the only part that is true. >> under ground, off the book campaign. it's a political crisis here in washington, d.c. good evening, i'm derek mcginty. this is your only local news at 7:00 and tonight, we are dedicating our coverage to the bomb shell, which dropped this afternoon that could put vince gray's political future at risk. how today's developments will impact the mayor's race and bruce johnson is live right now in northwest d.c. with the latest. bruce. >> derek, we knew when we showed up today that one of two things can happen. if vincent gray was not implicated by jeff thompson in his plea with the u.s. attorney, the mayor was looking pretty good toward reelection. he is already ahead in the polls. if jeff thompson did implicate the mayor as some people
thought he would, that's a whole new ball game in the democratic primary for mayor. now jeff thompson said not only did mayor gray know about the shadow campaign, he participated in it and asked for money. this all started when vernon hawkins and two of the mayor's big supporters, two people have who have pleaded guilty, to hatch out this shadow campaign. that's when it all started. it reached when mayor gray met with jeff thompson prior to the september primary of 2010. >> jeff thompson arrived at u.s. district courthouse today about an hour before his hearing before the judge, he could face as little as six months in jail. inside the courtroom, prosecutors deliverewhat is probably thompson's most crucial point. he told harris and hawkins in a private meeting, if the mayor wants me to pay more for a shadow campaign, he'll have to
come here and personally ask me himself. prosecutors went on to say that harris arranged for the mayor and jeff thompson to meet alone in her apartment in june of 2010. prosecutors say gray gave thompson a budget for getting out the vote. the amount over $425,000. prosecutors allege that thompson agreed to pay and gray thanked him using a name all had agreed on uncle earl. they got more checks, $566,000 in all, say prosecutors. >> did you know that vernon hawkins, jeanie clark harris had been meeting with thompson to form a shadow campaign? >> this is mayor vincent gray a short time ago in his office. >> in that june meeting, 2010, you layed out a budget for certain amount of money for get out the vote? he agreed to fund it. you thanked them and called them uncle earl and
subsequently, the campaign got a check. >> those are lies, bruce. the uncle earl part is the only part that is true. and he asked me, you know, when he started raising money for my campaign, which i have acknowledged that, he said, you know, please refer to me as uncle earl, because i don't want to be the recipient of retribution for the opponents campaign. >> given all that has been said, these months and the millions he raised, not only for vincent gray's campaign, but for the federal campaign, most legal observers say jeff thompson got a pretty good deal. he could have been looking at 30 months in prison. now he is looking at possible six months and he may even just have to do house arrest in exchange for all this cooperation that he has given the federal prosecutors. he has given no thought. he will not step down from office. he has given no thought. he will not end his campaign.
although he does admit, the developments today, they do represent a game changer in this race. derek. >> he won't end this campaign, but the voters will have the opportunity to end it for him if they wish. we'll talk with bruce johnson again a little later on in this broadcast. meantime though, within the last hour, the u.s. attorney, the fbi, and the irs held a news conference about this district political crisis and mark albert was there. he joins us live with the details on what they talked about. mark, it went on for a while. >> it did. the news conference just ended 7 minutes ago. at that news conference, the fbi, the irs and u.s. attorney handed out the statement of offense 33 pages long as well as the plea agreement, which is 12 pages long, which says thompson will cooperate in all future. the allegations outlined by the u.s. attorney are simply breathtaking. they have described at this news conference, this massive scheme, to deceive d.c. voters and not just voters in d.c. but
according to the allegations, thompson was giving money to influence races from the mayor of d.c. all the way up to the office of president of the united states. it is a sweeping, sweeping offense statement here. alleging this involvement and in a foreshadow, perhaps, of other things to come. other charters that may be coming, the u.s. attorney here said quote, we're still running down loose ends. we will seek to hold accountable everyone that may have been involved. here is a little bit of what the u.s. attorney had to say just a few minutes ago. >> this investigation has been focused on covering the sad truth that has been suppressed for far too long. at d.c. campaigns have been compromised by corporate money for years. jeff thompson's guilty plea pulls back the curtain to
expose widespread corruption. >> there is no doubt who the u.s. attorney was referring to in his statements today about mayoral candidate a. that is the person listed in the target document in the statement of defense. he said mayoral candidate a, won election in 2010 for mayor of d.c. and specifically asked about comments that mayor gray gave, alleging that the offenses listed here are lies. the u.s. attorney directly said that he would not respond to the characterizations. instead, the investigation continues. back to you. >> no hint as to whether there is further indictments to come of the mayor? >> well, that is one of the questions that was asked and the u.s. attorney would not give a definitive answer. other than to say, anyone involved in the district of columbia would be held to account and he had described at
this news conference all of the allegations, including three meetings with mayoral candidate a who identified as mayor gray in the primary in 2010. so we will obviously have to keep on top of this. it appears the u.s. attorney's comment that more charges are coming against someone. >> mark albert live in northwest. thank you. we go to the next big question. you know what it is. what will the um pact of this be on the mayor's race? which is three weeks away. bruce leshan is here with reaction to the mayor's opponents who are looking at his job and more so now that jeff thompson has made such strong allegation against the mayor. >> looking hungrily at his job, but not that eager to talk to the media. a lot of them, at least three of them were not really talking today. ducking the media and i did just get a statement from muriel bowser who most polls suggest is the front runner. she says today is a tragic day
for d.c. politics and for our city. the citizens of our great city are witnesses to a fragrant betrayal of the public trust, but she didn't say anything about the money she may have gotten from jeffrey thompson. in fact, a whole lot of candidates who have taken money. the one guy who perhaps gains the most from this is the one guy who refused corporate donations, tommy wells. >> it's a good day for justice. we are finally cleaning up and getting to the root of a culture of corruption in our elected government here in d.c. >> no tommy wells was so eager to talk about the charges, he turned up at u.s. district court where jeffrey thompson was pleading to two counts of conspiracy to support local and federal campaign laws. >> jeffrey thompson, the largest contractor in the city, he didn't give money because he liked folks, he gave money to elect contracts. >> muriel is running second to mayor gray for the democratic
nomination. her staffers initially said we could talk to her while she campaigned in the afternoon. an hour later, they said they were reevaluating and we are still waiting for a chance to talk to her. we did catch up with jack evans, but he told us he wanted to wait for more details before commenting. >> both of them were subpoenaed in this case for taking money from jeffrey thompson. i have never taken a dime from jeffrey thompson. i have never asked for money from jeffrey thompson. >> also missing, the usually garrelous, vincent orange, who received $148,000 from thompson. that is mentioned in the criminal pleadings, but orange goes unnamed. one nonmayoral candidate was also eager to talk. jim graham says he was a victim of thompson's funding schemes. his opponent for the ward 1 council seat got tens and
thousands of dollars from the now convicted felon. >> i remember seeing this at the time and thinking, oh my god, $26,000 from one set of entities? >> it turns out, it was a lot more than that. >> it was $166,000. >> two polls suggest recent polls suggest that a lot of d.c. voters are concerned about this investigation, but at last check, mayor gray was far out in front of any of his challengers. still, thompson's allegation that the mayor solicited him to fund a shadow campaign has got to be bad news for the mayor's reelection effort. we're going to have to see how people take this in ward 7 and 8 where the mayor remains intensely popular. >> it will be interesting to see what jack evans has to say. he is waiting until after that news conference. news conference is over. >> let's hear from him. thank you, bruce. now, recapping for you very quickly. a lack back at how we got to today's guilty plea from jeff thompson. >> in 2010, vince gray
defeated him and went on to win the general election. one year later, former mayoral candidate, sulaimon brown accused him to stay in the race so he could attack mayor fenty. gray campaign assistant and campaign consultant admitted they gave brown illegal campaign contributions. that very same year, campaign consultant, jean clark harris admitted she concealed $653,000, which had secretly been paid by jeffrey thompson. and then in 2013, former aid, vernon hawkins admitted he took money supplied by thompson and gave it to another man. the goal, get him out of town so he couldn't talk to the fbi about that shadow campaign. >> and it is a bit of an under statement if we tell you this could impact the upcoming election. we will note early voting for d.c. drentzs starts next monday. that's march 17. primary day is april 1. stay with us. we have a lot more on this
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and their families is without equal. for years, certain candidates who stand for integrity were huddled behind closed doors, scheme on how to spend your cash. >> district crisis prosecutors speaking just a few minutes ago about d.c. businessman, jeff thompson who pled guilty to charges involving an illegal shadow campaign during his successful run for mayor back in 2010. now, mayor gray strongly denies any wrong doing. joining us now to further break down and explain this crisis is scott, the defense attorney, a former d.c. council who also used to be head of the district democratic party and a man who once represented jeff thompson's company, chartered health, nits dealings with in
dealing with city government. >> your reaction to somebody who worked with jeff before this all break down. >> i worked with his company, went into receivership and the company transferred hands as of late last year. this is incredible. an incredible bomb shell. when you talk about a pyramid prosecution, this is as close to the top as you get. i don't think it's as much about criminal justice, it is about that, but it's more about political justice if you will. you have a leading candidate who is the incumbent who has a good shot of getting reelected in the primary with 90% of the district being democrat. if he wins the primary, he wins the final, the reelection piece. that being said, you have a department of justice investigation that spent a lot of resources over 3 plus years investigating and two big fishes in this investigation.
jeffrey thompson and mayor gray. >> so you think politics has something to do with the fact that three weeks before the primary election, an election the mayor was pretty much set up to come close to winning or winning outright, this bomb shell gets dropped? >> i don't think it's all politically driven, but politics has to be a part of it. the manual and guidelines say you can't prosecute a sitting elected official or candidate at a time to affect the election outcome. here, the u.s. attorney's office in the district of columbia has done just about that as far as public opinion by prosecuting the major player in this investigation. jeff thompson is the only individual of all the pleas that have been taken that can connect the mayor to a conspiracy and connect the mayor to his knowledge as well as affirmative acts, if you believe what the plea agreement says. >> the fact is, the allegations on -- i shouldn't say allegations, he pled guilty today to basically running a criminal reelection campaign for a good number of city officials under the radar for
the last five years. how is it it possible for one guy to do all this and basically nobody know about it? >> well, i don't think -- i wouldn't agree with you no one knew about it. he was a major political fundraiser at the democratic level and at the local level. this was not done in the heat of the night. his contributions, remember now, just because you accept contributions from jeff thompson didn't mean yo anytng wrong or he did anything wrong because you have to have the knowledge piece. he was a well known political fundraiser. he was the man to see if you were running for office and he was known to be able to raise tens and thousands of dollars. >> and the politicians couldn't say no, is what it comes down to. >> he had the interest, he had the money, and the events to protect his business interest, which made it all doable and made him a very likable figure. it's not about saying no. politicians, money is the mother's milk of politics. so it's hard to say no, but i think most politicians, had
so i get invited to quite a few family gatherings. heck, i saved judith here a fortune with discounts like safe driver, multi-car, paperless. you make a mighty fine missus, m'lady. i'm not saying mark's thrifty. let's just say, i saved him $519, and it certainly didn't go toward that ring. am i right? [ laughs ] [ dance music playing ] so visit progressive.com today. i call this one "the robox."
text the word alexandria to 22543 for new developments. >> we have new updates to pass along to you. mola is live to preview a community meeting that is just about to start about those three murders. >> reporter: it's supposed to start in ten minutes. people have already started filing into the beverly hills united methodist church here in alexandria. good sized crowd is expected. it was just last month where they packed this church. a few hundred people out of this community turned out to hear the police chief and to hear the mayor speak. that was just days after ruthanne was murdered. tonight it will be jim moran. he will answer any questions he can. provide some sense of normalcy. help this community to return to normal. the new information from police just days ago about the bullet fragments that are related in all three murders. they did provide some sense of hope, but neighbors around here that we talked to, we come out here a lot.
those say ultimately they want to see an arrest made. that will help them to return to normal and provide some justice. that meeting will be kicking off in ten minutes and we'll have a report at 11:00 tonight. >> all right. >> live in alexandria for wusa9. >> again, we have set up that special text alert for updates on the alexandria killings. text the word alexandria to 25543. that will get you texts with updates and new developments. we'll be back.
we are continuing to knoll the district crisis on our website. go to wusa9.com. we have the interview. the charging documents and the time line of exactly what happened. all that again on wusa9.com. top, we have time for a quick look at our forecast. >> you're going to love tomorrow. upper 60s, hang on wednesday. 68 on wednesday, with showers and thunderstorms primarily in the afternoon. possibly damaging winds wednesday nighted and look at
thursday, 32 for a high and pop back up in the 50s on friday, saturday, and sunday. >> we'll take the decent weekend. >> the weekend is okay. not be happy about thursday, but good news is, it can't stay that cold for that long. >> st. patty's day is monday. >> thank you. ask thank you for being here. that's all for our broadcast. we're back here at 11:00 with more on the district crisis and don't forget, log on any time to wusa9.com. have a great evening. we'll see you later. bye bye.
we add justin bieber's video deposition and he does not come off well in it. it may be the understatement of the year. t>> ihink so. he is combative, and arrogant and why was it made public to begin with? >> i'm rob marciano. >> i'm nancy o'dell. >> i don't have to listen to anything you have to say. >> grilled for hours in a lawsuit against his bodyguard, asked repdleatey about selena gomez. >> don't ask me about her again. >> they were together this weekend in texas. so was bieber just acting bratty or was he being baited? >> they may argue the questions were harassing. >> it seems robin thicke is still trying to win his wife
back, but in this new video it seems like he's locked out of their house. >> hello? paula! >> we'll tell you what happened after the incident. >> anyone? >> clooney's ex stacy kiebler got married. what we know about the ceremony and how does the groom stack up against george? >> from the bronx tale to the sopranos to a crack addict accused of killing a cop. >> in part two of my lillo brancato interview, the former child star tells me how deniro and gandolfini tried to save him. >> just take it easy. >> and from america's most loved bachelor to the most hated? >> aye, aye, aye. >> before tonight's big finale, we're trying to figure out what went wrong for juan pablo? >> he chtoose tell me something no woman wants to hear. >> now "entertainment tonight," the worldwide leader in entertainment news. >> justin bieber, disruptive, dismissive, and downright rude.